A. Hope Williams
Director of Information Technology
Dr. Hope Williams joined NCICU in 1986 and has served as president since 1992. She is an advocate on state and federal public policy issues, represents independent higher education with other education sectors, seeks scholarship and program support for students and campuses, and fosters collaborative partnerships among campuses. She received her postsecondary degrees from Duke University, NCSU and UNC-Chapel Hill.
Vicki joins NCICU from North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction where she served in a variety of increasingly responsible IT roles since 2008. Her most recent position was IT Team Lead, ensuring uninterrupted operational system availability for the critical statewide application for the Exception Children Division. In addition to maintaining NCICU’s IT needs and representing NCICU on the development of the State Longitudinal Data System, Vicki will work with IT directors on our 36 campuses. Vicki earned a B.S. in Computer Science from University of Central Texas with a concentration in Psychology, an A.A.S in Computer Programming and Analysis from Central Texas College, and is PMP certified.
Sandy M. Briscar
Director of Communications
Advisor, Community Relations
Sandy Briscar serves as Director of Communications for NCICU, working collaboratively with the PIOs at our 36 institutions, writing news releases, coordinating media relations, developing publications and keeping the website content updated. Sandy has more than 30 years in higher education administration as a public relations and marketing specialist, including work at private colleges in Ohio, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. Sandy received her bachelor’s degree in Communications from North Carolina State University. She is also accredited by the Public Relations Society of America.
Phil Kirk serves as NCICU’s senior advisor on community relations, including business, government and public relations. Phil was President/CEO of North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry (NCCBI), the state chamber of commerce, and was Publisher of the North Carolina Magazine for 16 years. He was Chief of Staff for Governors Holshouser and Martin, as well as for U.S. Senator Jim Broyhill; and twice served as Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Resources. A graduate of Catawba College, Phil also served for 20 years on the Meredith College Board of Trustees.
Director of Programs and Special Assistant to the President
Steve Brooks serves NCICU as a senior advisor on a number of issues involving collaboration with other sectors of higher education in North Carolina. Prior to joining NCICU, Steve was executive director of the State Education Assistance Authority for nearly 18 years and, prior to that, was employed at two NCICU institutions – Louisburg College and Wake Forest University – for a combined 20 years. Steve received his undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Rebecca Leggett joined NCICU in 2015 after a lengthy career in independent higher education at William Peace University where she served most recently as Director of Visitor Services. Previously, she also served in an operations role in areas such as purchasing, accounts payable, telecommunications and postal services. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Gardner-Webb University and has conducted graduate study in American Literature.
Gwenn H. Hobbs
Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Carolyn (Carrie) Mata
Director of Research
Gwenn Hobbs has worked for NCICU for 25 years. She serves as Office Manager, coordinates the president’s schedule and correspondence and manages the NCICU database. Gwenn also provides accounting and human resources administrative support for the office. She holds an Associate of Arts degree from Peace College and a BA in Psychology from North Carolina State University.
Carolyn Mata previously worked with our sister organization, the Georgia Independent College Association, from 2010 until 2018 and has been with NCICU since 2016. She earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from The University of Central Florida, an M.Ed. in Education from Rollins College, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Central Florida. In addition, she holds Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from The Florida State University. In her role as Director of Research, Dr. Mata is responsible for keeping abreast of state and national studies on higher education and providing statistical and analytical support for a variety of research projects in order to emphasize the importance and value of independent education. Additionally, she is the IPEDS state coordinator for NCICUs 36 institutions. She currently serves as a national IPEDS Educator.
Vice President for Government Relations and General Counsel
Tom West joined NCICU in November 2014 and serves as vice president for government relations and general counsel. Prior to joining NCICU, Tom was a partner at Poyner Spruill LLP for over 17 years and, prior to that, served North Carolina as an administrative law judge for 11 years. Tom received his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and his law degree from Duke Law School.
Director of Special Projects and the Digital Learning Initiative
Independent College Fund of North Carolina
Independent College Fund of North Carolina
Colleen Kinser joined the Independent College Fund in July 2009 as Associate Director of ICFNC. She managed the gift-tracking process, donor database and fundraising reporting and worked extensively with financial aid directors. Kinser took on the role of director of ICFNC in May 2017. As director, she provides stewardship for current donors, cultivates new donors, as well as researches and writes grant proposals. Prior to working at NCICU, she worked in the Institutional Advancement office at Meredith College for 4 years. Colleen earned both her B.A. and MBA at Meredith College.
Melanie joined the NCICU in August 2017 as Associate Director of the Independent College Fund of North Carolina. With more than nine years in higher education, Melanie previously, worked at Saint Augustine’s University as Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and at Meredith College as the Assistant Director of Constituent Records. She earned a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource from Meredith College, holds a Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and is currently working on a doctorate in Public Administration. Melanie is responsible for managing the gift-tracking process, donor database, online grants, and fundraising reporting. She will work with financial aid directors to ensure integrity and accuracy in scholarship recipient selections.